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Judy Ellis was born at Memorial Hospital in Fremont, Ohio, on 19 May 1937. Her parents were Rev. Gerald H. Coen an Evangelical United Brethren minister in the Ohio Sandusky Conference and Bessie L. Coen an elementary school teacher. Bessie was in a different school whenever Gerald was assigned to a different Church in North West Ohio.
Judy and some fellow school teachers took in the 1960 Oberammergau Passion Play in the Bavarian Alps while on a tour of many European countries, from Spain to Denmark.
Judy was very musical and a distant relative of Fanny and Bing Crosby. Judy sang in the church choir all her life. She sang in the Sweet Adeline’s and was secretary of the Toledo Choral Society when Jerry joined. She liked Jerry so much that she arranged for him to sit in the end seat of the bass section, right next to her seat in the alto section. Two weeks later Judy called Jerry and said she and her friend Linda Ketterman had season tickets to the Players Theatre and Linda was too sick to attend. Would Jerry like to go in her place? After he agreed that it would be fun to go, Judy then called the Players Theatre and ordered two tickets.
The Toledo Choral Society had an active group of snow skiers. They went to the Gaylord, Michigan and Boyne ski areas on weekends. It was there that Judy and Jerry began a sixty-year love affair with snow skiing. Judy was very good at all sports but was a very graceful and smooth skier.
Jerry and Judy have been married 58 years. The wedding was on 6 June 1964 at the Calvary Evangelical United Brethren Church in Toledo, Ohio. Judy’s father the Reverend Gerald Coen was the presiding minister and Judy’s cousin the Reverend Donald Huffman officiated in a candle lighting ceremony. Judy’s uncle, the Reverend Burton Crosby officiated at the communion service. The one-hundred-year-old brick church building was built with an extremely modest budget. Light fixtures in the sanctuary were six-sided steel lanterns, hung from a chain with no glass in the sides. The bare light bulbs were an ugly sight and made a lot of glare. As Jerry and Judy’s wedding gift to the church, amber plexiglass was purchased by them for a custom fit, and finally fastened into place. At first, Judy was not sure about the scaffolding, but after about the third light, Judy was able to climb the scaffolding more comfortably. Mr. Tate the custodian, was able to help Jerry and Judy to dismantle and move the scaffolding which had to be fit carefully between the pews.
Judy had two older brothers, Gordon H. Coen the oldest having died first, and Carlton Crosby Coen who is still singing and living with Alzheimer’s. He has sung many years with the International Gold Medal Ambassadors of Harmony barbershop chorus.
Judy and Jerry started attending Northwest Evangelical United Brethren when it met at the Windemere school in 1964. When the new church building was finished in 1965, Jerry and Judy joined as members #79 and #80 along with Jack and Mary Alexander and Kay and Phil Fisher. All six of them were the first volunteer janitors at Northwest EUB Church.
Judy sang in the front row of the Chancel Choir where director Chuck Warner heard Judy’s beautiful alto voice. He started planning a woman’s trio with the name “Charlie Angels”, since that was a popular TV show in the 1970’s. The original trio included Judy, Beth Wagoner and Nancy Noles. The girls started making beautiful music until Nancy and Max Noles moved to Missouri, then Connie Fairchild stepped in and soon they were once again singing with great harmony and blend.
Judy’s family was very important to her. Her mother was a D.A.R., and the surviving Crosby clan would meet every two years. Judy hosted two of these reunions at her house. For one of these day-long reunions, Judy wrote a short play where she was a TV reporter and Mary Klinkefus, Judy’s ski buddy, dressed and portrayed the blind hymn writer Fannie Crosby, while being interviewed by Judy. Following this dramatization, the Reverend Burton Crosby led the singing of Fanny’s favorite hymns. This play about Fanny was so well liked and informative, it was repeated in the Northwest Church sanctuary.
Jerry and Judy were blessed by the arrival of their daughter Jennifer born on December 8,1967. Jennifer made them very proud when she named her son after Jerry’s father, Edison William, (Will), born on14 March 2003.
In addition to her musical talent, Judy liked living plants and was an avid gardener. She had artistic talents that created beautiful Tole paintings, oil paintings, macrame, carved gourds, hooked rugs, quilting and Pysanki, “Ukrainian Easter Eggs”. She recently received a Starfish Pin from Ohio Health, in appreciation for her volunteering many years at the Riverside Hospital Sewing Guild and the Northwest Church Comforters, where she produced hundreds of stuffed animals for the children. For forty years she taught preschool and due to her loving ways and gentle personality, she was loved by all the children. In 58 years of marriage, “sweet Judy” never raised her voice in anger, she was a loving and gentle person all the time. She will be truly missed.
Judy’s last trip to Colorado included grandson Will. He skied with grandma Judy, learned from her and quickly fell in love with the sport. It was his first time in the mountains, but it won’t be his last. Considering how much Judy loved to ski, there had better be snow in Heaven.
*Visitation is from 4-7PM on Monday the 12th of September. To be held at Northwest United Methodist Church, 5200 Riverside Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43220.
*The memorial service is 10AM on Tuesday the 13th of September, at Northwest United Methodist Church. Following the memorial service there will be a time of fellowship, then travel to Preston Cemetery, Hardin County, Alger Ohio, for her final resting place.
*The graveside service at Preston Cemetery will be at 3PM.
Donations can be made to Ohio Health Hospice, 800 McConnel Drive, Columbus, 43214 No flowers please.
FAMILY RQUESTS NO FLOWERS. PLEASE DO NOT ORDER FLOWERS FROM THIS OBITUARY!
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